Kobe Bryant to host event to address homelessness

In an ongoing effort to fight an issue that he holds dear to his own foundation, Kobe Bryant plans to host a charity event Aug. 15 at Nokia Theatre dubbed “Kobe up Close.”

“I’d like to officially announce that I’m partnering with the Sports Spectacular to help eradicate homelessness,” said Bryant in a pre-recorded video that aired Sunday at the Sports Spectacular 2013 gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. “You can learn about my past, present and future. It’s for an incredible cause.”

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel plans to host the event, one of many initiatives Bryant has taken in recent years to reduce homelessness.

Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, launched their self-named foundation in the summer of 2011 and began sponsoring My Friend’s Place, a nonprofit resource center on Hollywood Boulevard that offers free emergency services to homeless youth. Within the last year, the facility served 1,741 homeless people by providing shelter, food, clothing, showers, transportation and other services. Bryant’s foundation also provided a grant to Step On Second, a mental health organization that provides permanent supportive housing for about 1,800 homeless people. The funds are to help the group build eight additional housing units.

Meanwhile, Bryant spent last summer visiting the L.A. Mission and spending a night on skid row. He also hosted an event this past season in Hollywood where he met with former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who heads the Clinton Global Initiative.

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Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at mark.medina@dailynews.com

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